With stock dwindling, many people believe a refreshed Thunderbolt Display is imminent, one that matches the company’s 5K iMac (just without the internal components). Now, 9to5Mac claims to have details on this new display, which will reportedly feature a dedicated external GPU inside the display itself.
“Our sources explain that the reason for it is primarily for compatibility with as many future Macs as possible,” 9to5Mac wrote. “Due to the immense graphics [needed] to push 5K worth of pixels, normal super high-resolution displays require connected computers to include significantly powerful GPUs.”
With Apple computers getting thinner and lighter, stuffing these laptops with GPUs capable of powering these displays is becoming more of a challenge. As such, Apple is reported to be exploring ways to integrate a GPU inside of the display so future MacBooks will be compatible. With a future software update, Apple’s computers will apparently be able to “intelligently decide” whether to use the display’s graphics or the one found in the connected device.
“From what we understand, the GPU will not be able to work in concert with the internal GPU at all—it’s one or the other,” 9to5Mac said.
With the MacBook Pro expected to receive a major update later this year, it’s likely Apple will rely on connections via USB-C over Thunderbolt 3. Unfortunately, that means the recent Retina MacBooks are unlikely to support the new high-resolution display.
It’s unclear when the new display, which could come with a fancy new name, will be released. WWDC is one option but 9to5Mac didn’t definitively say whether or not we’ll see it by then.